Sligo to Letterkenny charity cycle continues to clock up the miles
By Alan Foley
McGinley's Bar in Letterkenny played host to the cheque presentation of the proceeds raised from the annual Sligo to Letterkenny cycle in aid of Cancer Clinical Research for Dublin's St Vincent's Hospital on Monday night.
The event, which has now been running for 19 years, gathered €27,100 since its staging last July and that brings the total raised over the years to almost half a million euro. Sean McFadden was first over the line in a record time in an entry field featuring 314 cyclists, who made the 72-mile journey in drizzling rain.
Chief organiser Paddy Delap acknowledged the role of those who had taken part, whether they were in the saddle or not. He paid special tribute to Margaret Toner - the event is held every year in honour of her late husband Michael - who had gathered a team of volunteers to provide refreshments for the entrants.
"A great day was had by organisers and participants alike," Delap said on Monday. "We had a great mix of young and old people from all over. I would like to thank the cyclists, as without them this large amount of money would not have been achieved.
"Also, a massive thank you to all the people who have helped in any way throughout the years. Their contribution helps make the race possible each and every year and without them all the event would not be the success it is, so thanks to the pit-stop crews, cycle servicing crews, Red Cross, time-keepers, motorcycle marshals, bicycle transporters and the Letterkenny Community Centre for the use of showers.
"I would also like to say a special thanks to Dr Crown, Jo and Trish at the Cancer Clinical Research Trust at St Vincent's Hospital. On behalf of myself and my committee, I would really like to show our great appreciation for all the work that has been done. I hope everyone enjoyed it and hope to see you all again in July."
Letterkenny's professional cyclist Philip Deignan, who competed in the event as a youngster and took part the year before last, was also present at the cheque presentation. Deignan, who this week heads to Mallorca for two weeks of training with his new team RadioShack, remains conscious of his roots.
"Coming back here tonight for the presentation of the cheque has brought back a lot of the memories and this is how I got into the sport in the first place," he said. "Seeing the cheque there makes it all worthwhile, especially so as it's such a worthwhile charity.
"It's unbelievable the work Paddy does and every year the event seems to get bigger and bigger. When you see the amount of money raised here, it's just incredible the work he puts in. Whenever I am at home, I would pop into Paddy when I can and would always follow the progress of the local guys and the Four Masters guys when I'm away. I like to keep in touch and wouldn't want to forget how it started off for me and where I came from."
FOR PHILIP DEIGNAN INTERVIEW PLEASE SEE PAGE 41